James 3:8-9 WEL But the tongue can no one tame. [It is] an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless God, even the Father, and with the same we curse people, who are made according to God's likeness.
Colossians 3:9-10 WEL Don't lie to one another, seeing that you have completely rid yourself of the old nature with his deeds, 10 And have put on the new [nature], which is being renewed into knowledge according to the image of him who created him.
A Christian is to be acting in God’s image, that is, in reason and in God’s character.
We see a sampling of God’s character as seen in
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
2 Peter 1:3-8
These traits must be seen in us. Perhaps, it is only briefly at first, but with time and God’s training (chastening), it develops, so we become more consistent in the character traits that He is pleased with.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a WEL Love is very patient and kind; love is not envious; love doesn't brag about itself, is not haughty, 5 Doesn't behave improperly, is not self-seeking; love isn't easily aggravated, doesn’t keep a list of wrongs, 6 Doesn't rejoice in injustice, but rejoices in the truth, 7 Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends…
B1 Love is part of the central character of God. Truth is the other.
C1 1 John 4:8 CSB The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
C2 Hebrews 6:18 CSB So that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us.
B2 Love, God’s love, is a choice. He chooses to love. The actions of love towards others are seen in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a.
B3 We are to love God in this way and other humans. Luke 10:27 MKJV And answering, he said, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. Jesus then gives an example in the illustration of the Good Samaritan.
B4 We are even to love our enemies. Clearly, this has to be a choice. Matthew 5: 44-45 PickeringNT But I say to you: love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you, 45, that you may prove to be sons of your Father in the heavens; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust.
2 Peter 1:3-9 WEL Since his divine power has given to us everything [needful] for life and godliness through the thorough knowledge of him who has called us to glory and moral excellence. 4 Through this he has given very great and precious promises, so that by them we may become partakers of the divine nature, [since] we have escaped the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire. 5 Beside this, be diligent to add to your faith moral excellence; to moral excellence add knowledge. 6 To knowledge add self-control; to self-control add perseverance; to perseverance add godliness. 7 To godliness add brotherly love; to brotherly love add unselfish, unconditional love. 8 For if these qualities are in you and are plentiful, they will make you not to be barren or unfruitful in the thorough knowledge concerning our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he who lacks these qualities is blind, short sighted and become forgetful that he was totally cleansed from his past sins.
B1 This list encourages us to become partakers of the divine nature, that is, God’s communicable character traits. We need to have our thoughts, desires, words, and deeds as Jesus character traits are.
B2 God gives us the grace to do this. He also gives us the training and testing that we need. Hebrews 12:10 WEL Truly, they disciplined us for only a few days according to what seemed best to them, but he for our benefit, so that we may be partakers of his holiness.
B3 This is God’s desire for us: Romans 8:29 WEL Because whom he foreknew he also already appointed to conform to the image of his Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
B4 We add to these traits by
C1 Knowing them, so we must study the New Testament, not only precepts but examples from the life of our Lord Jesus.
C2 Praying for them, so God will give us grace to do them.
C3 Fellowshipping with others, so we can encourage others and they encourage us.
B5 Note the warning: 2 Peter 1:9 But he who lacks these qualities is blind, short sighted and become forgetful that he was totally cleansed from his past sins.
Galatians 5:22-23 WEL But, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.
B1 The Spirit in this passage is the Holy Spirit.
B2 God, the Holy Spirit, works into us these traits, if we are willing.
B3 We must not resist His grace.
B4 If they are not seen privately and publicly, God will convict us. When He does we must repent. The fruit of repentance must be seen in that we do not practice these things anymore. Matthew 3:8 ESV Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. (Another translation: Matthew 3:8 NLT Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God).
B5 Our lives, our families, our churches, our society, our country, our government, our business, our world would be a different place, if all lived by this fruit.
B1 Do we have the character traits that God wishes for us to have?
B2 What can we do to increase these traits?
B3 Why must we be consistent in thoughts, desires, words, and deeds in private as well as in public?
Psalm 124:8 NLT Our help is from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 119:20 NIV My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.
Psalm 119:34-36 NIV Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.